[Click for English, which follows Spanish.]

Esa habilidad llegó a la vida de Elena Macario después de conocer a Luis Ostolaza, Guía de éxito familiar de Comunidad Promesa de la Mission a mediados de 2017. El encuentro se dio en la escuela primaria Bryant, donde estudiaban los hijos de Elena en ese tiempo.

“No sabía mucho de tecnología, como enviar un correo electrónico y en ese momento estaba en proceso de encontrar un apartamento de vivienda económica”, dice Elena, quien es oriunda de Guatemala.

Luis tomó el tiempo para enseñarle a Elena el uso de esa herramienta, consciente de que le sería útil para la obtención de recursos y para la comunicación con la escuela.

“Recuerdo las palabras de Luis ‘soy el guía, pero no todo el tiempo estaré ahí, debe aprender por sus propios medios’”, dice Elena.

Por supuesto el apoyo de Luis no se limitó al uso de la tecnología. La visión de Mission Promise Neighborhood es crear un futuro donde cada niño sobresalga y cada familia triunfe. Luis, como Guía de éxito familiar, le prestaría asistencia a Elena en dos de sus metas: obtener vivienda económica y hacerse ciudadana de Estados Unidos.

“No entendía cómo funcionaba el sistema de vivienda, sólo quería irme a un lugar para tener tranquilidad con mi hijo”, dice Elena. “Luis me ayudó con cada solicitud que hacía”.

Elena tuvo confianza en el proceso de la lotería de vivienda económica y fue persistente. Su esfuerzo tuvo frutos por partida doble ya que consiguió apartamentos para su familia y para sus padres en nuevas construcciones asequibles.

Con vivienda estable, Elena pasó a concentrarse en hacerse ciudadana de Estados Unidos. Tenía temor a la entrevista, por la barrera idiomática, pero Luis estuvo allí para ayudarle con la preparación.

La madre ahora es ciudadana y cuenta con vivienda estable. Su hijo Darwin está en noveno grado de secundaria y Jhonatan, el más pequeño, va a la escuela intermedia. Elena sigue el desempeño de sus hijos gracias a la comunicación por correo electrónico que mantiene con maestros.

“Como testigo del camino de la familia Macario, los veo como el mejor ejemplo de resiliencia”, dice Luis, quien ha estado en MPN durante seis años. “El amor por su familia y comunidad ha podido transformar a Elena y alentarla a superarse a sí misma a pesar de cualquier barrera que se le haya puesto en el camino”.

Ahora Elena usa su historia y su voz para inspirar a otras familias.

“Animo a los padres a que no tiren la toalla porque muchas cosas se pueden lograr con persistencia”, dice Elena. “Vivo con mucha tranquilidad con mis hijos, tenemos un gran espacio. Hay que seguir luchando por el sueño, hay gente que cree que es mentira, pero se puede lograr, es como buscar un trabajo, es algo que toma tiempo”.

Immigrant mother finds stability for her family with support from Mission Promise Neighborhood

Typing emailings throughout the day may be a normal task for most people working in corporate America, but when you’ve never crafted an official email before, and you don’t know what programs to start – it’s not a normal task, but a daunting one. 

Having safe internet access and learning to use email for the first time were essential for one immigrant mother who was desperately seeking and working towards stability for her and her family in San Francisco.

That new skill and ability, one many may take for granted, came into Elena Macario’s life after she met Luis Ostolaza, a Mission Promise Neighborhood (MPN) Family Success Coach, in the summer 2017. The two met at Bryant Elementary School where Elena’s children were studying at the time. 

“I didn’t know much about technology, like sending an email, and at the time I was in the process of finding an affordable housing apartment,” said Elena, who is originally from Guatemala.

MPN is a community and anti-poverty education initiative under the umbrella of Mission Economic Development Agency (MEDA), a community backbone organization. 

Luis took the time to teach Elena how to use this tool, aware it would be useful for obtaining resources and communicating with her children’s school.

“I remember Luis’ words ‘I’m the guide, but I won’t be there all the time, you have to learn by your own means,’” said Elena.

The support was not limited to teaching Elena how to format an email nor the use of technology. MPN’s vision is to create a future where every child excels and every family succeeds. Luis, as a Family Success Coach, would later assist Elena with two goals: obtaining affordable housing and becoming a United States citizen – two monumental steps in her and her family’s lives.

“I didn’t understand how the housing system worked, I just wanted to go somewhere to have peace of mind with my children,” Elena said. “Luis helped me with every application.”

Elena was confident in the affordable housing lottery process and was persistent. Her efforts paid off, undoubtedly, as she secured apartments for her family and her parents in affordable newly-constructed buildings in the Mission District.

With stable housing, Elena went on to focus on becoming a United States citizen. Due to the language barrier, she was afraid of the interview but Luis was there to help her with preparation.

She is now a citizen and has stable housing. Her son Darwin is in ninth grade and Johnatan, the youngest, is in middle school. Elena can now track how her children are doing in school thanks to email communication between teachers and officials – something she wasn’t able to do before.

“Being an eyewitness of the journey of the Macario family, I could describe it as the best example of resilience,” said Luis, who has been with MPN for six years. “How the love for her family and community has been able to transform and encourage her to overcome herself despite any barrier that may have been put in her way.”

After this experience, Elena uses her story and voice to inspire other families. 

“I encourage parents not to give up because many things can be accomplished with persistence,” says Elena. “I live very calmly with my children, we have a great space. You have to keep fighting for your dream, there are people who believe it’s a lie, but it can be achieved, it’s like looking for a job, it takes time”.

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